Burst Training is an exercise that involves doing brief “bursts” of intense and rapid movement followed by short rest periods.
In the old days, it was thought that we had to do a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio before fat-burning kicked in. Advances in technology have proven that this is not the case and that we can get excellent results doing short sessions if we put in enough effort.
When undertaken consistently, burst training workouts – AKA HIIT – will enable you to tone your muscles, improve your fitness level, and quickly lower your body fat.
Regular sessions will also improve your stamina, endurance, and heart health. You can achieve these benefits by doing short workouts, which makes it an excellent option for busy people.
While you can get an excellent workout without fitness equipment, if, like me, you find it easier to stay on track when using equipment, I highly recommend the Xiser Commercial Portable Stairmaster. Designed for burst training, it is incredibly sturdy. While its footprint is tiny, it provides workouts equal to those of a full-sized step machine. (Click on the previous link to read a review.)
Another benefit this type of training provides is that, unlike traditional workouts, with Burst Training, you will continue to burn calories long after your sessions end.
Please keep reading to discover more about Burst training, including why it works so well. You will also find two Burst training workout routines, some Burst Training exercises to try, and more.
Whom does it Suit?
Burst Training workouts are suitable for people of any age and fitness level. Whether you’re a beginner, a weekend warrior, or a seasoned athlete, you can benefit from this type of exercise. Offering virtually unlimited variety, it is ideal for easily bored people as it can incorporate bodyweight exercises, resistance training, cardio, or a combination of these.
A typical Burst Training workout plan involves 12 to 15-minute sessions comprising 6, 8, 10, or 12 circuits. The circuits consist of 30 to 60 seconds of activity done at 80% to 100% of your maximum heart rate to burn your body’s stored sugar (glycogen).
This is followed by 30 to 60 seconds of either rest or active recovery undertaken at approximately 20% of your maximum heart rate. Depending on your goal, workouts as long as 30 or 40 minutes can be done.
With Burst Training, the effort you put in is more important than the workouts’ length and frequency. This means you can forget about training for one hour, six or seven days a week. In fact, by doing short workouts at the right intensity, your result can be better. And, by including some rest days, your muscles will have time to repair and recover, and you will be less prone to sustaining an injury.
Doing just 4–6 sets x 30–60 second bursts three times a week will bring about remarkable changes in your fitness, strength, and muscle tone.
If your current exercise regimen is working for you, but you would like to optimize your time, adding two Burst Training workouts per week can rapidly increase your fitness gains.
Why Burst Training Works so Well
A significant reason that Burst Training is so effective is due to its effect on our hormones.
A traditional cardio workout burns fat while you are in the fat-burning zone. As soon as you finish, your body stops burning fat.
Following a Burst Training workout, you will burn fat for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours, during which time your body works to replace vital energy (glycogen) stores.
Along with burning fat, workouts burn up to triple the calories as steady-state cardio and conventional strength training.
Another benefit is that workouts release exponentially more Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone than most traditional exercises. These hormones are primarily responsible for building muscle and burning fat.
Additionally, interval training produces a chemical known as catecholamine. This increases fat oxidation and promotes increased fat loss, particularly in the lower body. Furthermore, the stress hormone Cortisol is released during low-intensity workouts of extended duration.
Unlike HGH and Testosterone, Cortisol inhibits muscle growth and slows fat metabolism. It can also increase the appetite, making it harder to stick to a weight loss or weight maintenance plan and slow or restrict recovery after exercise.
Losing your excess pounds and body fat can help to protect against heart attack. It can also assist with blood pressure management and lower the risk of stroke. It may also help to prevent some cancers.
If you have Type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it, regular Burst Training workouts are a fantastic option. This is because they can reduce fasting glucose and improve your metabolic health to a greater extent than steady-state cardio.
Some Sample Burst Training Workout Routines
NB: All workouts should start with a short Warm-Up before starting and a gentle Cool-Down after finishing. Eight circuits is a good starting point, but you can do as many as twelve or as few as four.
An example of a cardio Burst Training workout routine could involve eight circuits on a treadmill or a stair climber. Alternatively, you could use an elliptical trainer, a rowing machine, a stationary bike, or another piece of fitness equipment, varying the pace.
Try doing 20 or 30 seconds at high intensity as outlined above, followed by 20 or 30 seconds done at a gentle pace. If you can’t manage this initially, shorten the circuits’ high-intensity component, and rest rather than slow your pace between circuits.
If you don’t have any fitness equipment, alternate between sprinting and jogging.
Resistance-based Burst Training workouts can incorporate bodyweight alone or involve using resistance bands or dumbbells. A typical session might comprise six circuits, each made up of 20 seconds done at maximum intensity, followed by 20 seconds of rest.
Next, we will look at some Burst Training exercises for you to try. Included are six exercises for the lower body and six for the upper body. You will need a fitness ball for one of the lower body exercises. The others use body weight alone. Some of the upper body exercises require a resistance band.
Do each of the exercises three times, for twenty seconds, then move on to the next one. In other words, run on the spot at maximum effort for 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat this sequence twice more before moving on to exercise 2 on the list.
Round one will be relatively easy. The second round will be harder to complete. If you are put in the right degree of effort, your body beg for mercy by circuit three.
Sample Burst Training Exercises
Lower Body Exercises:
- Running on the spot
- Static Lunges
- 3-Way Calf Raises
- Hamstring Curls with a ball
Upper Body Exercises:
- Speed Curls
- Push-Ups (on bended knees if you are a beginner.)
- Seated Rows
- Tricep Chair Dips
- Upright Rows
For variety, change some of the above moves to include Squat Pulses, Squat Thrusts, Backward Lunges, High Jumps, Lunges, or Crunches. The options are pretty much endless.
If you are looking for a new workout or want to add to your existing one, give Burst Training a go.
Burst Training is among the most efficient exercises to burn fat and calories, boost your fitness, and, as a result, improve your health.
Workouts are quick, and you only need to do a few sessions per week to reap the benefits, so it’s a great choice for busy people. And with it potentially offering so much variety, it is ideal for those who quickly tire of working out.